Although life expectancy rose in some provinces, the overdose epidemic that has rattled B.C. in recent years pushed Canada’s life expectancy down for the first time in 40 years.
Data release by Statistics Canada Thursday found that life expectancy in Canada fell for the second year in a row between 2016 and 2017, dropping by 0.3 years for men and 0.1 years for women.
In B.C., where 1,491 people fatally overdosed in 2017, life expectancy that year dropped by 0.28 years for men and 0.05 for women.
Life expectancy did increase in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut.
Life expectancy in Canada has increased about 0.2 each year between the mid-1990s and 2012, and then 0.1 till 2016.
Women born in 2017 are expected to live to 84 years old, while men are expected to live till 79.9 years old.
Researchers found that although older people were living longer, younger people, especially men, were not.
Men aged 22 to 44 saw the most marked drop in life expectancy. Coroner data shows that this age group is one of the most affected by both overdose deaths and car crashes.
Among both men and women in 2017, more than one-quarter of 4,108 drug overdose deaths occurred in people between the ages of 30 and 39.